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Turtle Hatchling Release

This blog post was kindly sumbitted by Amy Lesh.

Last week, I was lucky enough to be in the water with a camera when 170 sea turtle hatchlings and washbacks were released back into the ocean. Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, FL and the Marine Science Center in Volusia County, FL had baby sea turtles they had cared for and needed returned to their natural habitat. Jupiter Dive Center and Riverwalk Dive Center, where I am an Instructor, provided the boat and crew to take the turtles to the weed line 10 miles off shore.

I am not an expert underwater photographer. I usually just carry a little point and shoot with no strobe and get some very mediocre shots. But for this opportunity, I really wanted to be able to capture the moment. Being given 10 minutes in the water, hovering over 1,000 feet on scuba, and awed watching these hatchlings being given a huge head start. I couldn't be out there fumbling with settings that I don't know or struggling to reach buttons on a housing. A friend loaned me his Sony NEX5 with a Nauticam housing with two Inon strobes. I think it was the perfect set-up for someone of my skill level.

170 threatened green and loggerhead hatchlings were released into the gulf stream that day. How many would have made it that far on their own? How many are still thriving at this moment? Will I see any of them again when nesting season brings so many sea turtles to the waters off Jupiter? I hope so. Was a newbie underwater photog able to capture the beauty of their release with the help of some top notch gear? This is what I got...

Coverage of the turtle release on local TV: